250 couples marry on V-Day

Newly-wed ethnic Malaysian-Chinese couples release heart-shaped balloons during their mass wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur.

GEORGE TOWN - It was a double celebration in Penang yesterday as couples tied the knot in a mass weddings in conjunction with Valentine's Day, while revellers packed the Esplanade to usher in Chap Goh Meh.

Among those who chose to wed on the auspicious day was newly-appointed Penang Chinese Town Hall youth chief Lim The Keat, who solemnised his marriage to Lee Pei Tee.

"I am happy as today marks our anniversary too. In 2005, we became a couple after we went on a date and yesterday we got married."

Lim and Lee were among 31 couples who got married at the Penang Chinese Town Hall in Malaysia, with the ceremony solemnised by assistant registrars of marriage, Chong Kim Seong and Teoh Saw Ling.

At another mass wedding at the Che Hoon Khor Moral Uplifting Society in Malaysia, 71 couples declared their love and devotion in front of three assistant registrars of marriage and the society's chairman Ng Tee Soo.

Liew Yoeng Foong, 33, who married Kang Ean Teng, 27, after a 10-year relationship said it would be a moment he will remember for a lifetime.

"I can feel the love in the room. It is wonderful to share this moment with so many people."

Khaw Hern Chwen, 29, who registered her marriage to Loh Hun Kheng, 29, at the same ceremony, said the 15th day of the first moon in the Chinese calendar was significant for lovers.

This year's Chap Goh Meh, which marks the 15th day of the lunar new year, coincides with Valentine's Day.

Many among the Chinese refer to Chap Goh Meh as the Chinese Valentine's Day.

Also known as the Lantern Festival or 'Yuan Xiao', Chap Goh Meh in Malaysia is marked by singles gathering at esplanades or lakesides to toss mandarin oranges into the sea.

This tradition is done by single women to wish for a good husband, with hopes that her true love will pick up the fruit.

Today, single women write their names and contact numbers on the oranges, as it is a fun way to meet suitors.

Some 5,000 revellers gathered at the Esplanade, in Malaysia for the state-level Chap Goh Meh celebration.

Women clad in traditional costumes tossed mandarin oranges which were later scooped up by several men on board a boat.

Revellers tucked into local delicacies while watching a Baba and Nyonya show and a performance by the 'Baba Johnny Chee & Golden Girls'.

In Negri Sembilan, 73 couples registered their marriages in conjunction with Valentine's Day and Chap Goh Meh at the National Registration Department (NRD).

Due to the large number of couples who began arriving at the NRD office, the registration was conducted in four groups of seven in order to expedite the process.

Ryan Chin Poh Sin, 34, who married his partner Grace Lin Ling, 28, jokingly said that he could save on anniversary and Valentine's day gifts as their wedding was on the same day.

In Kuala Lumpur, Leslie Koh, 42 and Susan Anjen, 32, were lucky to book the last spot for a mass wedding ceremony.

"We wanted a special date for our wedding.

"We tried 11.11.11, 12.12.12, and 11.12.13 but it was unsuccessful. I am glad that we booked this date as it is more meaningful."

In Kelantan, eight couples tied the knot in two separate wedding ceremonies.

In Putrajaya, NRD media relations officer Jainisah Mohd Noor said 67 couples had registered their marriages at its offices in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor.